run up stadium steps with a plastic bag over your head... j/k just take your time for the first few days
If you don't have a gym membership, knock out sets of walking lunges. Start with 50 unweighted to get used to the movement, then progressively build. Right now, we are knocking out a set of 400 m lunges every weekend until our hunt starts. DON'T start at a high rep volume though. YOU WILL BE CRIPPLED! Perfectly mimics beating feet up a steep mountain.
I have changed mine up a little. I am running 4 days a week every other day (3 miles) and then hiking with 65lbs on my back for 4-5 miles 2 days a week. I am no small guy either at 6'2 290 and this is my first back county hunt and I am busting my ass to make sure the lungs can handle the change in elevation from Oklahoma City, OK 1,200ft to our camping location 10,200. We are going up a few days early and staying in a hotel to just start getting used to the altitude before we hike in. Good luck!!
In the same situation. I have been on stair climber 45min to hr 1/2 3 days a week while circuit training with weights, high reps, high intensity. Have to be carefully with weight, too much muscle and your body requires more oxygen to run. The first year I went to NM around 8500 to 10200. Fresh off the football field thought that i could muscle my way to the top ha-wrong! My partner thought i was going to pass out. Since then i try to drop as much weight prior to going whether it be fat or muscle and focus on cardio.
OK, here is my two cents.
To answer your question, for a "test", I would try P90X and try the "plyo" DVD. Don't buy it, (at first) get it from a friend or someone who has it already. If you can do that through the whole video, you are in pretty good shape to begin with. If you can't walk the next day or can't finish half of video, you have a ways to go.
My theory on the subject of getting into "hunting shape" is that you can train all you want, just expect to be physically exhausted and huffing an puffing regardless. Really, besides doing it for real, there isn't a way to train for it unless you are doing it. I just can't train for 6-8 hours a day and, depending on the day, you could be going for 12 or more hours. Think of it this way, how is an hour or two on a tread mill or stair climber really going to get you where you need to be on the mountain? It will help, but even at max incline a mountain is much, much harder than a tread mill.
Do your PT but also work on the mind. Your mind is what will get you through the tough stuff, when you find your animal (that ran down hill) after dark and you are miles away from camp. I particularly have a weak mind, I have to constantly fight not to quit and have to play all kinds of tricks to ignore the knee or blister.
Do what you can and take your time. Try to pace yourself on the first day or two (if you can) and bring some ibuprofen.
Good suggestion chippy. Another test so to speak of is the 300 test. Ever seen the movie? The set up goes 25 wide grip pull ups, 50 push ups, 50 box jumps ( 24 in box) 50 kettle ball squat to press raises (35lb kettle ball/Dumbell) with each arm, 50 leg sweeps using a straight bar and 135lbs- sweep from tip to tip with feet while laying on your back, 50 dips and finish with 25 wide grip pull ups as fast as you can. Lowest time ive heard of was 12 min. Best i got was 18min. heck of a work out. Goggle it to make sure of line up but is pretty close to this.
Go hike the stairs in one of those sky scrapers you guys have back east. That should help some. Thats the only way i can see of getting elevation.
How much elevation are you going to be ascending?
One thing you might do is look at going for a hike all day long. Intense, 1hr workouts are tough, a moderate workout all day is something different and I think doing this will get your mind ready for the 7-8 hours this walk is likely to take you.
A good test I find to work for most people is if you can run at 6miles/hour for 3 miles (30min) without stopping with a 20lb pack on. I use that as a benchmark when I have friends who want come with me. I do 2miles a day at 6miles/hour 6 days a week with weight training and stair climber. I also shoot a couple hundred arrows a night.
I changed my diet about 4 months ago and I dropped 25lbs from then to now. Critters beware!
People in SUV's and suburbs will kill more game animals than a man with a bow, ever could.